tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley NBC July 1, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
highway 24. it's smoother than a lot of people expected. on the broadcast tonight, tragedy in arizona. a staggering loss of life. 19 firefighters killed, tonight, what we know about the men and their dangerous work. the families they leave behind, and the fight that still goes on. days of rage are back in egypt. tahrir square is overflowing, and the new president may be overthrown. in his own words. for the first time the jury in the trayvon martin case hears george zimmerman's version of the confrontation that night. and video sensation. this time it's not puppy videos. instead, it's something serious that people are seeing out on youtube. nightly news begins now.
good evening. and when the news broke late last night, it was such a staggering number, people wondered if what they were hearing was correct. 19 firefighters dead, all of them gone as a result of a single fire in arizona. they were all members of one hot shot crew and in the firefighter business, especially out west during fire season, hotshot crews are the equivalent of special forces. sadly, the staggering loss along with the destruction of so much property in and around yarnell, arizona, is proof that even the best are no match for a dangerous, galloping fire, moving fast with ample fuel. we begin tonight with nbc's miguel almaguer. he's in nearby prescott, arizona. miguel, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. the nation hasn't lost this many firefighters in a wildfire in decades. tonight this blaze is still burning out of control as hundreds of firefighters on the front lines mourn the loss of some of their own. today, a convoy of coroner vans carried the bodies of the 19
fallen firefighters who died protecting homes, trying to save lives. >> we think we have the area where the hot shot crews were. >> the granite mountain hotshot team overcome by flames. the winds suddenly shifted turning the flames on firefighters. >> we are devastated. we just lost 19 of the finest people you will ever meet. >> reporter: sparked by lightning, the so-called yarnell hill fire exploded out of control yesterday. >> we got our animals, kids, and we are safe, but our stuff is probably going to be destroyed. >> reporter: hundreds evacuated, an estimated 50 homes gone. >> the house was on fire when we left. everything was there but it was on fire. so it's gone. >> who is headed up for the help with the downed firefighters? >> reporter: officials say the crew deployed their fire shelters, an emergency tent-like blanket, designed to shield flames and heat.
the inferno was too intense. the group of elite and highly skilled firefighters often hike in for miles, carrying 40-pound packs, using chainsaws and shovels to cut fire lines. teams can go two weeks in the wilderness. >> mentally, physically, emotionally, it's challenging. the individuals that come through here typically choose to do it because they enjoy the work, and it is rewarding. >> in 2003, 29 firefighters died while working wild land fires. in 1994, 36 died, including 14 firefighters at colorado's storm king mountain fire. and in 1933, 29 los angeles firefighters died fighting the griffith park fire. the forest service fire chief says everyone will examine the tragedy in arizona. >> we absolutely have to learn from this tragedy in order to prevent the next one. >> reporter: with the blaze tonight still burning out of control, entire subdivisions
remain threatened. 400 firefighters are now on the front lines, battling a deadly inferno with heavy hearts. >> just proud of them. just proud of them and proud of our country. god bless them. >> reporter: the yarnell hill fire is zero percent contained. it has charred nearly 9,000 acres. it is a serious threat that is on the move. brian, the president called the 19 firefighters who lost their lives heroes. >> miguel almaguer, starting us off not far from the scene. miguel, thanks. and as you might imagine, we're learning more tonight about these lost members of the hotshot crew of firefighters. nbc's gabe gutierrez also in prescott, arizona, for us tonight. gabe, good evening. >> reporter: brian, they ranged in age from 21 to 43. they were the hotshots, known around here as the most elite firefighters. tonight, as you can see behind me, there is a massive outpouring of support for their
families. for prescott, this was supposed to be the biggest week of the year. the town's annual rodeo. but tonight a makeshift memorial is growing and the community is shaken. chris mackenzie was the son of a firefighter, an avid snowboarder. his mother said he lived life to the fullest. >> he was a good kid. and he's going to be so missed. >> reporter: kevin woyjeck is just 21 years old. he also wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and fight fires with the los angeles county fire department. >> we're a giant family. any firefighter lost throughout the country is one of us. we're all a big family. >> reporter: andrew ashcraft leaves behind a wife and four young children, all under the age of six. >> 19 gone. it's unreal. overwhelming. so many families impacted. >> reporter: reality still hasn't sunk in for others. >> i thought for a moment that i had dreamt his death, but,
sadly, it hit me moments later that it wasn't a dream or a nightmare. it was reality. >> most of them raised here, part of the community and met their wives here or their girlfriends, whatever they have. raised their kids here and the kids are all young. >> reporter: in this town of 40,000, it seems everyone knew at least one of these firefighters. >> just blind sides you, you know, drops you to your knees. >> reporter: jeff knew all of them. a fireman himself, he retired yesterday. his last shift was in the morning. then in the afternoon, he was called back to work to notify the families of his fallen colleagues. >> it's hard. not the way i want to remember my last shift. >> reporter: a town in the desert where firefighting is a way of life tonight is fighting back pain and praying for those still on the front lines. there is already a public memorial scheduled for later tonight, brian. >> gabe gutierrez, part of our
team covering this in arizona tonight. gabe, thanks. these fires of course are a component of the grip of intense heat throughout so much of the western u.s. for more, we want to turn tonight to veteran weatherman in los angeles, fritz coleman has chronicled the heat of the southland for decades on knbc tv. so fritz, from you to the east, what is the status of this crushing heat and in the days to come? >> well, brian, one more day, 24 more hours of an excessive heat warning for all of the southwest. prescott, arizona, 103 today. all of the nation's attention turned to death valley yesterday where at 129 yesterday they broke an all-time june temperature record for the entire united states. lancaster, california, which is in our antelope valley, hit an all-time june record of 115 yesterday. here in burbank where the studio is, about 90 degrees, a little bit better. brian we have the added danger today of what's called a monsoon flow.
it's a southerly flow of moist unstable tropical air. this can also deliver dry lightning strikes which seems to be the cause of the fire in prescott. it is the single biggest danger for fires in our national forests. so we're keeping an eye on the next 24 hours. >> fritz coleman, weather veteran in l.a. a very different problem along the eastern seaboard, but causing damage nonetheless. a rain-producing weather system parked on the coastline for days, showing no signs right now of moving. it has caused flooding in rural and urban areas from the carolinas to new england and today, tornado sightings and significant damage in the area around new york city. tomorrow for a huge area, promises a repeat. overseas tonight, happening again in egypt. the last time there was violent like this, the last time tahrir square was this full of people, protesters, they were overthrowing hosni mubarak. now the same thing may happen to
the first democratically elected president, mohamed morsi. >> reporter: good evening, brian. thousands of people have gathered in tahrir square. a celebration, people pointing lasers at buildings, music blaring. they feel their struggle is finally paying off, even with a little help from the country's powerful military. military helicopters trailing egyptian flags today, flying in formation above tahrir square, as the huge crowd erupted in cheers. finally, they believed the military had taken a side, their side in the showdown with egypt's islamist president mohamed morsi. on national television today, the military called the protesters great, glorious, and noble, and gave morsi an ultimatum, 48 hours to, quote, meet the people's demands, or they would intervene. the protesters want morsi out. >> morsi, i'm telling you, you
have to leave, you have to leave. because you can fight all the people. >> reporter: on sunday, one year after morsi took office, millions of egyptians took to the streets in protest. there was violence, at least 16 dead, hundreds injured. the muslim brotherhood headquarters were sacked. a petition calling for morsi's resignation gathered 22 million signatures. life for many egyptians has become intolerable, a crumbling economy, basic services almost nonexistent, food and fuel often out of reach. morsi's opponents say he hijacked the revolution that ousted mubarak and imposed an islamist government that refuses to share power. morsi supporters, many camped out in cairo for days, say he was elected fair and square. they say the military is attempting a coup, and they are prepared to fight. tonight morsi's holding emergency meetings. but the crowd celebrating in
tahrir square now believes his days in office are numbered. the military says this is not a coup, that ending the conflict is a matter of national security. but their ultimatum was music to the ears of protesters, who toppled one leader here and believe they are about to do it again. tonight, the response from the u.s. has been somewhat muted, no specific reaction to what the military issued today. but crowds here have been very critical of the obama administration's position. they say that they have been warming up to the muslim brotherhood over the past year. brian? >> live above that wild scene in tahrir square tonight, thanks. there are new developments tonight involving intel leaker edward snowden and what he's doing in moscow. he has reportedly now applied for political asylum in russia. tonight russian president vladimir putin says while on one hand russia will never turn snowden over to the u.s., on the other hand he says snowden must
also stop leaking american secrets if he wants to stay there. in a statement just released, snowden says he is, i his own words, unbowed in his convictions. in africa today, an elaborate welcome for president obama in tanzania, a last stop on his african trip. hundreds lined the newly renamed barack obama drive in dar es salaam. he also talked about what was happening back home, saying the deaths of those 19 firefighters in arizona were heroic, a reminder that first responders put their lives on the line every day. tomorrow a rare joint appearance in tanzania with former president george w. bush. still ahead for us on a monday night, a dramatic day in the george zimmerman trial as jurors hear his version of the night trayvon martin was shot and killed. and later, how some great teachers are getting a lot of kids interested in learning this summer.
they've started a new week in the trayvon martin murder case. in florida today, the jury heard and saw what the accused, george zimmerman told police after the confrontation that ended in the shooting. nbc's ron mott has the latest from sanford, florida. >> reporter: though he may never take the stand, george zimmerman dominated day six of testimony. in taped interviews with police. >> he jumped out from the bushes, and he said what's the [ bleep ] your problem, homie. >> reporter: zimmerman told doris singleton, the first to interview him after the shooting that trayvon martin quickly overtook him, knocking him to the ground and slamming his head into the sidewalk. >> i said help me, help me, he's killing me. and he placed his hand on my nose and my mouth and he said you're going to die tonight. >> reporter: zimmerman continued. >> i felt his hand going on my side and thought he was going for my firearm. so i grabbed it immediately. and as he banged my head again, i just pulled out my firearm and shot him. >> reporter: 17-year-old martin,
who was unarmed, died that night last year, killed by zimmerman with a shot to the chest. during the struggle. he has pleaded not guilty, saying he fired in self-defense. throughout his written statement, read in court, zimmerman describes martin as a suspect. >> did you consider to be suspect such an outrageous term to use that it caused you concern? >> i didn't read it at the time. >> how about today? >> no, i don't think it's unusual. >> reporter: the prosecutors have said zimmerman wanted to be a cop. >> when mr. o'mara asked you about the word "suspect" not being significant, it's because you're used to using the word suspect when you're apprehend organize describing somebody who you feel or you suspect is committing a crime, correct? >> yes, that's what i use. >> reporter: lead investigator, chris serino, expressed doubt in zimmerman's story in a videotaped interview three days after the shooting, about why he didn't know the street he was on and needed to get out of his pickup truck. under cross-examination,
♪ got to have a zip code ♪ a zip code >> catchy tune. today is the 50th anniversary of the zip code. while no one back then could ever predict it would somebody be called snail mail, the reason for the elaborate song and dance ad campaign was zip codes were controversial. back then it was considered an added burden, a lot more work just to mail a letter. but as they explained to all of us, and some people still may not know, all those numbers have special meaning, starting with
the first member for the zone of different areas in the country. >> zip code. five trail-blazing numbers like this one, launch every piece of mail with space-age speed and precision. it is as up to date as the computer. >> those computers. the ad campaign worked and a once skeptical public when forced to mail a letter, that is, wouldn't consider leaving off the zip code. the pilot of a sight-seeing helicopter is being praised for his quick thinking and quick actions after his bell jet ranger lost power over the hudson river in new york. pilot michael campbell was able to deploy the inflatable pontoons on the chopper's skids and land the aircraft safely on the surface of the hudson river. everyone survived uninjured. the pilot and his four passengers, a family of four visiting from sweden, including two children. a milestone for the most heavily populated state in the union.
demographers estimate sometime around noon local time that the population of hispanics became equal to the population of whites in california. it now becomes the second state to pass this population milestone. the same thing happened in new mexico a few years back. and the next state projected to have equal white and hispanic populations is texas at some point in the next decade. supreme court justice elena kagan has opened up about life on the court. while she says disagreements sometimes test their friendships, she told the audience at the aspen ideas festival that the justices are actually closer than people think. that includes a pair of hunting buddies, the dependably liberal kagan goes shooting with the dependably conservative justice scalia. >> at the end of last year, we had been bird shooting four or phi times. so he said to me, it's time for big game hunting.
and we actually went out to wyoming this past fall to shoot deer and antelope. and we did. >> justice kagan did, in fact, kill a deer. she says she has come to enjoy hunting, especially with justice scalia. and as a kid from the upper west side of manhattan, she had no prior experience in it. up next for us here tonight, how more and more teachers are teaching without any students in the room.
finally tonight, you all know what can happen. all it takes is one video on youtube, and that leads to another. sometimes the video they suggest for you, and before you know it, it's hours later and you cannot account for your time or your taste in web videos. but now to match a big need, there is another use of youtube that increasing numbers of people are turning to in earnest. and the summer school veterans among us might want to pay attention. our report tonight from nbc's stephanie gosk. >> i love you. >> i love you. >> reporter: youtube, the world wide web's one-stop shop for all things viral. >> i love you.
>> reporter: the 2 too cute. the too funny. the simply ridiculous. this summer, parents may be thinking i have to pry my kids off youtube. unless they spend time talking video popularity with youtube's kevin olaca. >> education videos have become one of the fastest growing segments of the site. right now pet and animal videos are half of what education is getting on the site. >> reporter: education videos, teachers on youtube, giving lessons in just about everything. what if summer school got a whole lot more fun. >> my name is mr. hughes and i get to teach through youtube. >> reporter: maybe morning mitosis and miosis before the swimming pool. >> start with one cell and it makes an exact copy of itself. >> reporter: great teachers don't just teach, they perform, traditionally just reaching a few students each year. now they can have a much bigger stage. they can reach hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of thousands. rob has been teaching high school math for 18 years in
tampa. with some help from his wife, he started posting videos on youtube two years ago. >> the scope you touch people's lives with the internet is just way beyond what i ever expected. it's overwhelming. it's exciting. it's exhausting, and i don't want to stop. horizontal distance between those two points. >> reporter: his videos now have more than 100,000 views from all over the world. >> he really broke it down to a way i could understand it. >> it feels like he's sitting beside you and teaching you something very easy. >> he explains it more thoroughly than any professor i've ever had before. >> reporter: a new twist on dreaded summer school, now so cool it's going viral. >> go do some homework. >> reporter: stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york. >> tell me that's not cool. >> that's our broadcast for monday night as we start a new week. thank you for being with us. i'm brian williams. we of course hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.
>> nbc bay area news begins with breaking news. our breaking new, we follow the day one of the bart strike. people are struggling to get home. frustrated commuters, many of them are still on the road. >> bart riders had to scramble to find other ways to get to and from work. many have waited in long lines for rides on buses and ferries. the bay area council estimates the economy stands to lose more than $73 million a day
in lost productivity and commerce. we begin with where the strike stands. no movement on the tracks or in the negotiating room either. >> reporter: no. no one is talking right now. i've put in a phone call to bart management. they say they have no movement. i've also put in a call to union workers. they say they haven't heard from anyone. both sides say they're waiting for the other one to come in and say hey, let's negotiate. and no one is doing it right now. it's an eerie feeling right now. you see that the doors are closed here at bart. there was a huge rally outside the city hall this afternoon. a rally was held with city workers. they are both on strike as everyone knows. the bart walkout is p over wages and benefits. they're asking for a 4